After finally leaving the Turkish port I was very grateful to find that the sea was smooth and I had no hint of sea sickness (this was a huge relief as you would not want to be poorly with the toilets on board… the less said about them the better!)
Our crossing was scheduled to take 19 hours but on the second evening it was clear that we would not be docking in Egypt that night and prepared ourselves for another night with a crooked neck attempting to sleep on the seats. All seemed good when we docked the following morning and pulled the car off the boat at about 6, and then we waited for our passports to be returned… we waited… we finished off our reserve of dried apricots… and then we waited some more… I finished my first book… and we waited some more. At about 14:00 we finally received our passports back so that we could leave the port and explore the delights of Port Said.
As Ben said earlier, there were a lot of Syrian families on board so a children all over the place, not necessarily the ideal scenario for a peaceful crossing. However you could not have come across a better behaved group of kids, bearing in mind they had just left their homes with all their belongings, spent a day in a big hot room at the port followed by 58 hours on board the ferry there were no tantrums, no crying and they happily made their own entertainment. It did make me wonder what a similar experience with a group of children at home would have been like.
On leaving the ferry we had a day and a half to kill, due to it being Egyptian weekend there was no way of starting the Customs process to get the car released. There isn’t a great deal in Port Said apart from an awful lot of rubbish, there are heaps of it everywhere, plus dirt and grime whichever way you look. The area down by the water is relatively nice (it’s all relative) and we’ve also managed to pass some time helping the locals practice their English – Hello, How are you? What is your name and Welcome… seems to cover the main conversations we have. That said when asking a local for help they go out of their way to assist. Having my photo taken with groups of giggling teenagers who seem to like the gringo with blonde hair is also entertaining…
On Sunday Ben started the Customs process with the help of a local fixer that Mohammed (Syrian man from the boat) had spoken to before arriving and offered some reassurances that he was a genuine guy. From what I understand the process seems to have demonstrated very nicely the Egyptian way of life – Enshallah (God Willing) or perhaps best described by the Lonely Planet “Why do today what you can put off until tomorrow”
Our Disco was released towards the end of Monday and we’re now in Cairo. We will hopefully be heading out to the Western Dessert in the next couple of days as long as the sandstorms aren’t too crazy!